Backpackers visiting the Manapouri region in Southland this month have offered to pitch in with the latest Broom Busters working bees to clear weeds and help restore native vegetation at Fraser’s Beach.
The YHA (Youth Hostels Association) will be among volunteers turning out for Saturday working bees on 10, 17, and 24 September. The Department of Conservation has also offered support.
Recently vandals have drilled and poisoned around 200 native beech trees on reserves, and over 100 trees on private land in Manapouri.
Broom Busters Coordinator Catherine Brimecombe says the vandalism has been disappointing for the community, but strong public support and a good volunteer turnout at this month’s working bees will help restore spirits.
“We’re keen for any members of the public, organisations or workplace groups to come and help,” Ms Brimecombe says.
Broom Busters was formed by local volunteers in 2003, and is a member of the National Weedbusters organisation. They’ve been working on restoring the Fraser’s Beach area for the past two and a half years.
Their ‘busy bees’ have been strongly supported by scouts, the local playgroup, the fire brigade, businesses, locals, cribbies, visitors, DOC, Southland District Council, Manapouri Community Development Area (CDA), the Guardians of the Lakes, Fish and Game, and members of Forest and Bird.
The work has transformed what was an unusable thicket of woody weeds. Now the area is open and attractive, and the local council has provided picnic tables over-looking the lake.
“We have removed large broom, Darwin’s barberry and cotoneaster plants, along with rowan, pine, briar and gum from the area, and replanted with natives.
“With the busy bees this month, we will be removing weedy regrowth by cutting and pasting, handpulling and digging. We will also be removing rubbish and planting more natives,” Ms Brimecombe says.
“Volunteers need to bring their lunch, drinks, good footwear, sunhats, sunscreen and bug repellent. Tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided.”
Access to Fraser’s Beach is by a gravel road that loops from the lakefront highway. Broom Busters will be found at the southern end of the road.
Ms Brimecombe says the biggest working bee is expected to be on Saturday, 24 September when helpers will be treated to a community BBQ and a visit by the national Weedbusters mascot Woody Weed. There will also be special activities for children. The working bees will run from 10am through to 2pm.
Further information about the working bees is available from Catherine Brimecombe on (03) 249 6933 or Caroline Carter at the Department of Conservation on (03) 249 7921.